…Boiled frogs….the men in grey suits…..and none of the above…….

Boiled Frog

I’m sure you know the anecdotal story.

Take a frog, chuck it in a pan of boiling water, it’ll jump out. Of course!

However, put the same frog in a pan of cold water and gently raise the temperature, and you’ll cook it to death.

It is a modern-day parable for how our perceptions and insights can be dulled by the familiar.

I look a round our industry and I just see a giant ball of boiled frogs!

All us Baby Boomer dinosaurs we’ve got used to it being just how it is. Calcified, ossified, fossilised, we now just get in the way as CEOs and middle management block the road to progress.

Ever shook up a bottle of fizz, and cracked the cork…..whoosh!

That’s what coming…..the Gen Ys and Zs are queuing up behind us, and at some point the surge of pent-up enthusiasm, passion and just sheer technological collaborative prowess is going to just to sweep us away…

Conspiracy Theory

This week a conspiracy has come to my attention…

It affects us all in the construction industry. It is pervasive. Extends to the very upper echelons of our ranks and has profound implications for our future.

You know them – the men in grey…..grey suits that is.

They rule. Perhaps not with an iron fist but with attitudes that are woven into our culture and behaviours.

Innovation. Skills. Young people. Equality and diversity. Progression. Environment. Development. Image. Profile. Payments. Old school, pervasive. All are affected.

Grey Suits

Fred Mills of the B1M http://www.theb1m.com said to me recently there were too many men in grey suits representing the industry.

This made me think….

If we are trying to get young people, women, or more people from ethic minorities,  into the industry (And lets face it chaps, be real, some of us aren’t really trying here are we?). They want to hear from their peers and exemplars….not tired old men in grey suits imploring this or that….. This made me think…….( Hey before you ask, I know I’m a turkey voting for Christmas here….)

Maybe it’s time we just need to get out-of-the-way, recognise which way the tide is running, and give the Millenials a step up.

Something to think about…

So here’s my challenge to CEOs in any sector in any organisation, and all you middle managers desperately trying to hold on…….you are facing digital annihilation within your lifetime, these are truly career defining days!.So here’s the deal

Get a group of your youngest colleagues, GenYs, GenZs and listen to them. Their ideas, their vision of the future.Even better put them in charge, help them develop a Digital Economy strategy for your organisation – watch them fly. Yep its a risk…so is getting out of bed, and crossing the road.

If you just keep doing the same old things, you will get the same old results and face extinction in a business sense anyway! At least this way you can begin to surf with the Digital Generation and might even lead the pack in a few years!

Mene mene tekel upharsin (Google it!)

We are the last analogue generation. The recent Digital Built Britain Strategy :


points our way to a different world – the Digital Information Economy, where in a data sense everything, and I mean, everything, joins up.

Unfortunately just as in evolution, some businesses and individuals won’t or can’t make the transition. Rather like neotenous tadpoles that never change into frogs. They grow bigger and then eventually they just conk out (Unless you’re an axolotl!). Sobering thought!

Time for change / None of the above

On so many levels our industry needs to change for the better.

I’m just left wondering whether the establishment leaders we have in place across our industry are the ones best placed to catalyse those changes? Or is it time for “None of the above”.

A time for courage, radical thinking and jumping out of the box.(There is no box).

I wonder……………

Until next time








4 thoughts on “…Boiled frogs….the men in grey suits…..and none of the above…….

  1. John I have been actively trying to change the thinking of the ‘grey suites’ within my present workplace with little success. I was in the line of thinking ‘maybe they are right & all this talk of digital age won’t affect us’ but after reading your blog I think it may be time to jump ship and seek the forwarding thinking practice.


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